The East Jefferson Rivals football team earned their first win of the season after a stout defensive performance against the South Whidbey Falcons, with the Rivals winning 9-7 at the final …
The East Jefferson Rivals football team earned their first win of the season after a stout defensive performance against the South Whidbey Falcons, with the Rivals winning 9-7 at the final whistle.
The football game was a low-scoring affair, with neither team scoring more than a single touchdown each after four quarters.
In the first quarter, the teams traded touchdowns with each other, as Rivals senior running back Logan Massie had a 95-yard touchdown run, cutting through defenders, then sprinting along the sideline to take it to the house.
At the end of the first quarter, the Falcons clung to a narrow lead after East Jefferson’s kicker missed an extra point attempt after Massie’s long scamper for a score.
The game sat at 7-6 with South Whidbey ahead until the fourth quarter.
As the final stanza continued to play out, the Rivals were behind by one point with South Whidbey ahead.
In the early fourth quarter, East Jefferson drove downfield into the Falcons’ territory, but the Rivals were stopped on third down.
Looking to take the lead, the Rivals decided to attempt a field goal kick.
With pressure looming, the Rivals’ sophomore kicker Gary Zambor booted the ball between the uprights to take the lead at 9-7 with 9:56 left.
The Rivals defense continued their dominance and kept South Whidbey out of the end zone and outside field goal range.
As the clock wound down, East Jefferson earned its first win of season, with their record standing at 1-2.
The defense contributed greatly to the Rivals victory, as senior defensive lineman Christopher Fair led the team in tackles with nine, along with two sacks.
Senior defensive lineman Jesse Kithcart paced the Rivals in sacks, netting three total on the night, along with five tackles.
Additional standouts on defense were senior Clayten Smith with eight tackles, and Josiah Pennington with one sack and six tackles.
“They had nine stuffs in the course of the game; they came up big,” Rivals Head Coach Tony Haddenham said of his defense.
Although the defense allowed some big plays, they prevented South Whidbey from putting more points on the board, following Haddenham’s “bend, not break” scheme.
The Rivals offense wasn’t as effective as they’d been in previous games, but Massie was vital to the team, netting 205 rushing yards on the night.
East Jefferson will face the Vashon Island Pirates on Oct. 1.
The Pirates have a 2-1 record and clobbered their last opponents 40-0.
The Rivals defense will have a new challenge as they look to stifle Vashon Island’s overachieving offense in their matchup on the road.
“It feels great, the boys deserve it, they’ve played hard all season,” Haddenham said of his team. “To see them gel and come out on top with a victory, it’s awesome.”
With the South Whidbey game in the rear-view mirror, Haddenham is strategizing for the upcoming matchup against the Pirates.
“We’ve got a game plan of how to stop their offense,” Haddenham said.
The coach plans to utilize his high-powered defensive line to “cause some mayhem on Friday” against Vashon Island’s backfield, looking to contain the offense and force turnovers.
It appears the week off after the cancelled game against Coupeville on Sept. 17 benefitted the Rivals, as some players were experiencing minor injuries.
The players are at “90 percent right now, we needed to get the kids a rest,” Haddenham said.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here